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For Immediate Release

Release of 8 Medical Reports on Treatment of Bahraini Medics Proves Torture

PHR continues calls for remaining 10 medics to be examined by independent forensic physicians

Cambridge, Mass. - 03/28/2012

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed the much delayed release by a Bahraini court of forensic medical documentation of eight medics who were tortured in detention. Today during the continuing trial of 20 health workers who are charged as alleged backers of pro-democracy protests, the court released medical evaluations of eight medics. Eighteen medics allege torture while in detention.

“We are pleased to hear that the Bahraini court heeded our calls for the release of these important medical evaluations that prove torture. However, this decision is only a small victory for some of the medics and their families. If the court is serious about guaranteeing fair trials for all medics, they must immediately provide the remaining ten medics access to independent forensic examinations,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director at PHR.

PHR has continually called for qualified forensic and medical evaluations of all detainees in Bahrain using the gold standard of torture investigations – the U.N. Istanbul Protocol, which PHR helped to develop. The court has proposed that the accused medics undergo examinations by a 3-person local committee; however the medics’ defense team has alleged that the committee is biased.

PHR has continually called for the charges against all medics to be dismissed and the torture of medics documented by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to be thoroughly investigated. Recently, the court also refused to accept a list of international experts that the defense suggested should examine the medics.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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